Stem Cell Transplant Heals 11 Year Old Boy After Accident
5 years ago, Braden Heckendorn was a victim to a horrific accident. In December of 2013, Braden parents received a phone call that changed their lives as well as Braden’s, forever.
“We got a phone call saying that they were doing CPR on Braden,” Braden’s father, Bruce Heckendorn, told Eyewitness News.
Whilst at a relative’s house, Braden had been setting up target practice with a pellet gun. According to his father, the gun malfunctioned meaning that one of the pellets shot straight through Braden’s armpit and into his left ventricle in his brain.
“He was down for 22 minutes without a heartbeat,” Bruce said.
Braden was revived, although following this, he suffered a stroke within just 96 hours. Despite the stroke, Braden fought on through all his injuries and survived.
While Braden had managed to survive, this was only the beginning of a long struggle ahead. He had to overcome huge hurdles, in the years following the accident.
“He couldn’t see very well at all. He could only see light and dark. He was in a wheelchair. He couldn’t talk, he couldn’t walk,” Braden’s mother, Kristy, said.
“Doctors really don’t have a very good outlook on brain injuries, especially for children, and they say after a year, that’s about what you’re going to get,” Kristy added.
There were some improvements over time, but Braden plateaued.
As a result of the huge advancements being made within modern medicine, today aged 11, Braden is now active and has the capability to take on moderate tasks.Braden’s parents researched many different options for him, as a result, they eventually came across a stem cell company called Celltex.
“It was in January of 2017 when they went to Cancun and he got his first 600 million stem cells,” Celltex CEO David Eller said
The procedure began by collecting a small fat sample from the patient, which was conducted through a third-party doctor.
The stem cell company, Celltex then reproduces the mesenchymal stem cells within the sample (the same cells that are found both in teeth and bone marrow) in their Houston-based laboratory.
“This never would have been done five years ago. Hopefully, in the near future we’ll be able to get that done in the United States,” Eller said.
In the UK while it is not legal to use embryonic cells, bone marrow cells and tooth cells are legal and highly researched within the UK and Europe, with The University of Cambridge opening a new stem cell research lab funded with £10 million.
When the procedure was performed on Braden, they began to see improvements incredibly quickly.
“His hand was drawn and tight and he was using it to eat and using it to help get himself dressed. We noticed within a week or two, his vision got better. His speech got better, and he just looked brighter,” Kristy said.
18 months have almost passed since the stem cell treatment was performed on Braden.
5 years ago, his heart stopped, he was unable to speak and was immobile without a wheelchair. Today his future is completely different as a result of new alternative stem cell treatments he was able to receive.
Protect Their Future Health
We believe the best stem cells to use in emerging treatments will be the patient’s own stem cells as this doesn’t require a search for a suitable donor and in turn, eliminates chances of the transplanted cells being rejected.